Is Graduate School a Cult?

Let’s say a mother finds an application to Duke University’s Ph.D. program in English under her daughter’s mattress. Obviously the mother is devastated. If she does nothing, in a year her daughter will be dressed in black and sneering in obscure jargon at the Thanksgiving turkey and Aunt Sally’s cranberry Jell-O mold. Where can a concerned parent turn for help?

To serve this need, former academics could reinvent themselves as counselors; they could coordinate interventions with the friends and loved ones of people who are flirting with graduate school, or who have been enrolled for several years but lack the will to leave, or who are trapped in dead-end adjunct positions. These “academic exit counselors” could foster the kind of loving, supportive environments that “academic captives” need to return to a normal life. —“Thomas H. Benton”

Is Graduate School a Cult? (Chronicle)

I had a pretty good experience in grad school, though it was research assistantships on humanities computing projects that made me want to get out of bed each morning, not really the classes or the solitary work on my dissertation (a literary and theatre-history examination of the theme of technology in American drama).